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While the Lions' offense has struggled at times this season, one of the constants has been running back Joique Bell.

Although he hasn't had eye-popping numbers (62 yards rushing and 41 receiving Sunday against the Vikings), he has been steady and again was a finisher on the final drive, helping to run valuable time off the clock and limit Minnesota's ability to get a last-minute score.

Bell is getting the lion's share of the snaps, playing in 34 of 51 (64 percent) against the Vikings, while Reggie Bush had 14, Theo Riddick two and George Winn 1.

It's a shift away from Bush, who had been seen as the featured back, and Riddick, who has a skill set similar to Bush's versatility in the background. But Bell has been the most productive this season and the Lions are reaping the benefits, as he's produced more than 100 yards of total offense in three of the last four games.

Bush had a diminished role, with three carries for seven yards and just one catch for 10 yards.

Coach Jim Caldwell has said Bush remains the starter but Riddick surprisingly got the first snap of the game.

"We weren't trying to make a point; it just kind of depends on what play we want to start the game with," Caldwell said Sunday. "We don't typically start with things in mind to help or hurt anyone in that regard."

OTHER NOTABLE SNAP COUNTS

Offensive tackle: LaAdrian Waddle 38 (of 51), Cornelius Lucas 13.

Analysis: Waddle's likely season-ending injury meant that Lucas was back on the right side and again filled in nicely. If Waddle doesn't return, he'll probably hold down the position for the last two games, at least.

Tight end: Brandon Pettigrew 37, Eric Ebron 20, Kellen Davis 3.

Analysis: Pettigrew was a run blocker and wasn't targeted for a pass. Ebron, who had become a bigger target for quarterback Matthew Stafford, had just one catch for 11 yards, but showed some improved run-blocking ability on a couple of plays.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter.com/detnewsRodBeard

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